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Scarf: Self-Supervised Contrastive Learning using Random Feature Corruption

Dara Bahri · Heinrich Jiang · Yi Tay · Donald Metzler


Self-supervised contrastive representation learning has proved incredibly successful in the vision and natural language domains, enabling state-of-the-art performance with orders of magnitude less labeled data. However, such methods are domain-specific and little has been done to leverage this technique on real-world \emph{tabular} datasets. We propose \textsc{Scarf}, a simple, widely-applicable technique for contrastive learning, where views are formed by corrupting a random subset of features. When applied to pre-train deep neural networks on the 69 real-world, tabular classification datasets from the OpenML-CC18 benchmark, \textsc{Scarf} not only improves classification accuracy in the fully-supervised setting but does so also in the presence of label noise and in the semi-supervised setting where only a fraction of the available training data is labeled. We show that \textsc{Scarf} complements existing strategies and outperforms alternatives like autoencoders. We conduct comprehensive ablations, detailing the importance of a range of factors.

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